Michael Porter Jr.

Report: Sixers thought about packaging Markelle Fultz and picks to go top 5

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Report: Sixers thought about packaging Markelle Fultz and picks to go top 5

As you buckle in for what might end up being a pretty wild NBA draft night, there’s already a bit of news that’s bubbled to the surface. 

This possible trade might be dead, but according to The Athletic’s Michael Scotto, the Sixers internally batted around the idea of packing last year’s No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz, along with No. 10 and 26 to move up into the top five.

That would qualify as a pretty huge move. And it’s interesting, considering the Sixers are reportedly reluctant to include Robert Covington or Dario Saric in a deal.

The target of this possible move to the top five? 

“The target was (Michael) Porter during these discussions,” Scotto writes.” However, that thinking dampened with Porter’s back remaining a major question mark. If JJ Redick leaves in free agency, Fultz is the favorite to start at shooting guard.”

That’s certainly interesting. 

Porter is a pretty big question mark heading into draft night. He’s talented and the Sixers’ obviously really like him as a player, but it seems like no one is sure what to make of his back, which needed surgery in November. 

The top of Scotto’s mock draft is full of juicy nuggets like that involving possible trades. 

Eventually, Scotto has the Sixers taking Villanova’s Mikal Bridges at No. 10, a move that would make plenty people very happy. He then has them taking Grayson Allen at 26 before going back to Nova to draft Jalen Brunson at 38. 

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NBA draft 2018: Preview, start time, pick order, live stream and how to watch

NBA draft 2018: Preview, start time, pick order, live stream and how to watch

The 2018 NBA draft is finally upon us!

Here’s everything you need to know regarding the Sixers as they officially open up one of the biggest offseasons in franchise history.

Essentials

When: June 21 at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Barclays Center (Brooklyn, New York)
Network: ESPN
Live stream: Watch ESPN
Social media: @NBCSPhilly

Local coverage of the Sixers' draft

At 8:30 p.m ET, be sure to tune into NBC Sports Philadelphia for Draft Central: Sixers. Join Amy Fadool, Marc Zumoff, Marc Jackson in studio breaking down the Sixers draft night. Danny Pommells will be reporting from the Draft floor in Brooklyn, while Jessica Camerato and John Clark will be reporting from the Sixers Complex in Camden. 

Order

1. Phoenix Suns
2. Sacramento Kings
3. Atlanta Hawks
4. Memphis Grizzlies
5. Dallas Mavericks
6. Orlando Magic
7. Chicago Bulls
8. Cleveland Cavaliers
9. New York Knicks
10. Philadelphia 76ers
11. Charlotte Hornets
12. LA Clippers 
13. LA Clippers
14. Denver Nuggets
15. Washington Wizards
16. Phoenix Suns
17. Milwaukee Bucks
18. San Antonio Spurs
19. Atlanta Hawks
20. Minnesota Timberwolves
21. Utah Jazz
22. Chicago Bulls
23. Indiana Pacers
24. Portland Trail Blazers
25. Los Angeles Lakers 
26. Philadelphia 76ers
27. Boston Celtics
28. Golden State Warriors
29. Brooklyn Nets
30. Atlanta Hawks
31. Phoenix Suns
32. Memphis Grizzlies
33. Dallas Mavericks
34. Atlanta Hawks
35. Orlando Magic
36. New York Knicks
37. Sacramento Kings
38. Philadelphia 76ers
39. Los Angeles Lakers
40. Brooklyn Nets
41. Orlando Magic
42. Detroit Pistons
43. Denver Nuggets
44. Washington Wizards
45. Charlotte Hornets
46. Houston Rockets
47. Los Angeles Lakers 
48. Minnesota Timberwolves
49. San Antonio Spurs
50. Indiana Pacers
51. New Orleans Pelicans
52. Utah Jazz
53. Oklahoma City Thunder
54. Dallas Mavericks
55. Charlotte Hornets
56. Philadelphia 76ers
57. Oklahoma City Thunder
58. Denver Nuggets
59. Phoenix Suns
60. Philadelphia 76ers

Profiles

With five total picks in the draft, including two in the first round, who exactly are the Sixers targeting? Well, they could go with the hometown hero with the smooth shooting stroke, the combo forward with tons of upside, the soft-spoken guard that prefers loud dunks or anywhere in between.

Here are some of our draft profiles on the biggest names the Sixers could be plucking off the board in the first round.

Could Sixers still get draft's top talent at No. 10?

How would college basketball's top scorer fit with Sixers?

Will Mikal Bridges make it to Sixers at No. 10?

• Kevin Knox's potential might be too great for Sixers to pass on

3-and-D or an athletic wing? Miles Bridges could be both

Would electrifying prospect Sexton fit with Simmons?

Will DiVincenzo make it to Sixers at pick 26?

Rumors

The draft rolls right into free agency as the peak time for NBA rumors and speculation. The Sixers aren’t immune and have found themselves at the center of some chatter heading into the big night.

Sixers get draft night started early with a trade

Sixers reportedly reluctant to include these 2 in draft trade

An interesting pundit says Sixers seek to trade up in draft

If report is true, who could Sixers target in top 5 of 2018 NBA draft?

If report is true, who could Sixers target in top 5 of 2018 NBA draft?

An interesting report from an even more interesting source surfaced Friday. 

The Sixers are reportedly “very much looking to move up to get somebody they think will go in the top five” in next week’s NBA draft. With that in mind, the question becomes: Which player are they targeting?

The top of the draft is loaded with centers, but it’s pretty safe to assume they won’t be looking for one with All-Star Joel Embiid signed long term. That means you can likely cross DeAndre Ayton, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Wendell Carter Jr. off the list. 

Here’s a look at three players that would make sense for the Sixers that will likely go in the top five.

Luka Doncic, G/F, Real Madrid (6-8/228)
Doncic would make a ton of sense for the Sixers. The Slovenian wing is known for his elite playmaking ability. He’s an excellent ball handler and has an incredible offensive feel for a player his age. He also played in the second-best league in the world and excelled, taking home MVP of the EuroLeague at just 19 years old.

The biggest concerns will be his lack of elite athleticism and a somewhat inconsistent jumper. His lack of athleticism shows on drives to the basket and when he’s asked to guard smaller, quicker players. That could be an issue with the Sixers, who switch on everything. The jumper is there (80 percent free throw shooter as a pro), he just needs to show more consistency with it.

It’d be interesting to see what Doncic can do with a big man like Embiid and a point guard with Simmons’ vision. Doncic’s ability in the pick-and-roll could be lethal when paired with a player like Embiid. His overall offensive feel should help take some pressure off Simmons as a ball handler. If Markelle Fultz develops into the player the Sixers hoped, there’s no reason to think Doncic can’t play alongside the 2017 No. 1 overall pick. 

It’s also worth noting Doncic’s draft stock has slipped every-so-slightly recently — he was projected to go No. 1 or 2 when the process started — over fears of his ability to adjust to NBA athletes. The Sixers could be gauging to see where he slips and pounce. If I were a betting man — I’m not — my money would be on Doncic as the player they’re targeting.

Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri, (6-10/211)
Like Doncic, Porter Jr. is a bit of an enigma but for a different reason. Porter Jr., considered by many to be the top recruit coming out of high school, suffered a back injury that required a microdiscectomy on his L3-L4 spinal discs. He was only able to play in three games at Missouri and clearly lacked explosiveness.

Porter Jr. may be a better fit than Doncic from a basketball standpoint. Porter Jr. has a smooth shooting stroke, which is his most translatable NBA skill. He’s good both off the dribble and in catch-and-shoot opportunities. He’s also a good cutter and is better at playing off the ball. With his length, quickness and athleticism, he’d fit with what the Sixers do defensively with the ability to guard multiple positions.

While his shot should be there at the next level, he still has work to do on the rest of his offensive game. He doesn’t have great vision or feel and his handle will need to tighten up. Defensively, he lacks grit and physicality. He’s a poor rebounder for his size as well. There have also been questions about his maturity and whether he’s a good teammate.

With news that Porter Jr. had to cancel a pre-draft workout because of hip spasms, the injury history is a little scary. With that said, reports say his medical records are fairly clean. Given the Sixers’ recent history with injured draft picks, they’re kind of uniquely qualified to handle the situation. On the court, he should provide spacing for Embiid and Simmons with potential to grow on both ends of the floor. 

Marvin Bagley, F/C, Duke (6-11/234)
Bagley is sort of the dark horse here. Before the college season began, it was either Porter Jr. or Bagley that most considered to be the best player out of high school. Bagley is probably the safest bet of these three players after finishing an outstanding freshman season at Duke, winning ACC Player of the Year with a clean bill of health. He may also be the oddest fit for the Sixers.

Bagley is an outstanding athlete with great basketball instincts. He has the potential to have a strong jumper, shooting well from three (40 percent), but with a small sample size (58 attempts). He’s an outstanding rebounder (11.1) and plays hard and aggressively on defense. He excels in the pick and roll. He has a quick first step and has the potential to be a strong driver and finisher at the next level.

Bagley’s biggest issue is that he’s kind of a tweener. He lacks the length and girth to play the five and may not be a strong enough shooter to be a modern NBA four. He’s a little too left-hand dependent with his drives and finishes. He’s more a strong team defender than an on-the-ball one.

The Sixers are already set at center and arguably at the four with Dario Saric coming off a strong sophomore campaign and Jonah Bolden possibly coming from overseas. But Bagley could help in a few different scenarios. If the roster stays as is, Bagley could fight Bolden for minutes as a backup four and five. Saric is also a very attractive trade piece. If he’s moved in any type of deal, Bagley could be his replacement. Although it’s worth noting that if Saric is moved for a veteran piece, the Sixers will likely include the No. 10 pick in that deal and not move up. Bagley seems like the most unrealistic player to move up for, but you never know.

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